Government funding ‘biased to trans activists’ The Times 11.02.19

The original article is here.

Transgender activists get hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from the Scottish government, which some women’s campaigners said was evidence of bias.

Of more than £5 million allocated for equalities groups in 2017-18, LGBT groups received £883,800, including £200,000 for the Scottish Trans Alliance (STA). Only women’s groups that support proposals to allow people to self-identify their gender without a medical diagnosis received funding.

Nicola Sturgeon told a meeting at the United Nations, where she was being recognised for her work in advancing gender equality, on Wednesday that the concerns of some women and feminists about gender legislation were “misplaced”.

Several academics and feminist activists have expressed concerns that protections for women and girls set out in the Equality Act 2010 would be undermined by a self-identification policy in the amended Gender Recognition Act. However, the first minister said: “As an ardent, passionate feminist I don’t see the greater recognition of transgender rights as a threat to me as a woman or to my feminism.”

Some women’s groups argue that Ms Sturgeon is siding with transgender activists despite her plea to “depolarise” the gender debate. Women and Girls in Scotland, which opposes self-identification and trans women having access to women-only services, said: “It is important that the government develops its understanding of why alternative views nearly always come from organisations and groups that do not receive government funding.”

The STA co-wrote guidelines given to schools in 2017 that some women’s groups claim prioritise transgender children’s welfare over that of other children, such as by advising that girls who felt uncomfortable because of the presence of a trans child in a changing room should change elsewhere.

Members of Holyrood’s culture committee concluded this week that not all women’s groups had been adequately consulted about the inclusion of a third “non-binary” answer to the sex question in the census.

The Scottish government also claimed this week that it used the term “cisgender” (meaning people who are not transgender) instead of “pejorative” terms like “biological man/woman”.

Susan Sinclair of Scottish Women, which also campaigns against self-identification, described the statement as alarming. “I worry that the Scottish government doesn’t understand the definition of sex,” she said. “How can we trust the policies and official documents coming from them? The trans lobby’s influence is huge and it’s grown. There’s no other voice being heard that doesn’t agree with self-identified sex.”

The Scottish government said: “We are firmly committed to building an inclusive Scotland where people feel valued and respected for who they are, and it is absolutely right that we put funding in place to support that. We value our relationship with key equality intermediaries and the vital work they do.”

The STA did not respond to a request for comment.